NFL Week 9 Top Betting Picks: Go East, Young Team

cordarrelle patterson atlanta falcons rb nfl
Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Atlanta Falcons stiff arms Denzel Ward #21 of the Cleveland Browns as he runs in for a touchdown in the first quarter of the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Beware the West Coast team heading east. It’s been an adage that’s rolled around NFL betting circles since the league first expanded from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

The logic says that the travel and time difference associated with heading from the West Coast to the Eastern time zone makes it difficult for players to be ready to go at game time. After all, a 01:00 PM kick comes at 10:00 AM for a player still on Pacific time, making it difficult to calibrate your biological clock.

While there has historically been a disadvantage associated with travel east –West Coast teams had a winning percentage close to .400– we’ve seen a much lower penalty associated with that travel in recent years, thanks to adjustments in when teams leave for the game and improvements across the board in training, recovery and preparation.

Plus, when you look at against-the-spread performance, east-traveling teams have been almost exactly .500 in recent years.

Still, with three teams in that situation this week, including two playing at 01:00 PM on Sunday, we look to see if the old saying will get new life in Week 9 action.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, November 06, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Chargers are 4-3 and a game out of first in the AFC West, while the Falcons are 4-4 and in first place with a one-game margin over the rest of the NFC South.

Los Angeles won their first trip into the time zone, beating the Browns by two on October 9. They are also coming off a bye week, which should help with the body clock calibration.

The Falcons won in their previous home game against a West Coast team, knocking off the visiting 49ers three weeks ago.

The Lineup for This Game

The Chargers’ bye didn’t help injured receiver, Keenan Allen. He returned to the field in limited duty just before the bye, after missing five straight games. But he says he feels worse now than he did before the week off and hasn’t practiced yet this week, putting his status in doubt for the game.

In contrast to the Chargers, the Falcons got positive injury news. Running back Cordarrelle Patterson returned to practice and could be ready to be activated from injured reserve and play on Sunday.

NFL Pick: Falcons +3 (-104) at FanDuel

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, November 06, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at TIAA Bank Field

After a promising start, the Jaguars have lost five straight games to drop to 2-6. The Raiders aren’t much better, at 2-5.

Any jet lag the Raiders might be suffering from on Sunday will likely be canceled out by the fact that the Jags played in London last Sunday and had an even tougher travel week to get home.

The Lineup for This Game

Linebacker Divine Deablo missed practice earlier this week with back and wrist injuries, and a number of other players—including receiver Mack Hollins and tight end Darren Waller—were limited with soft tissue injuries. The Jaguars had just one player on their injury report and should be ready to go.

Neither team looks poised to put up big numbers on offense. The Raiders were shut out last week, while the Jaguars haven’t reached 20 points in three of the last four games.

NFL Pick: Raiders -1.5 (-106) at FanDuel

Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, November 06, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Raymond James Stadium

Two teams that are shockingly below .500 at this point in the season will try to get things right in Tampa. The Bucs are 3-5 after losing three straight games, while the Rams are 3-4.

This is just the second game outside of California for the Rams this season—and the first was a relatively short trip to Arizona. So the travel demons could be in full force for L.A.

The Lineup for This Game

Tampa will likely not have a full contingent of starters ready to greet the visiting Rams. Receivers Russell Gage and Julio Jones, guard Shaq Mason and safety Antoine Winfield have all missed practice this week with a variety of problems.

The Bucs offense has averaged just over 18 ppg this season, while the Rams have failed to score more than 14 in three of the last four games—all losses.

We like the Rams to find their footing against a reeling Bucs team.

NFL Pick: Rams +3 (-118) at FanDuel